"We will take you where you are, and we'll teach you. And the extent to which you fail is our failure, not yours. We will not cop out by saying, "He can't learn." Rather, we will say, "I failed to teach him. So I better take a good look at what I did and try to figure out a better way."
- Siegfried Engelmann
M.Ed. in Elementary Education, University of Minnesota
M.A. in Special Education, University of Oregon
Jerry Silbert has worked with Direct Instruction for 40 years. He was initially trained in Direct Instruction in 1971 as part of his masters program in special education supervised by Siegfried Engelmann and Wesley Becker at the University of Oregon. Upon graduation, Silbert spent four years as a site consultant and supervisor in the University of Oregon Direct Instruction Follow Through project. During this time, he spent considerable time at school sites on the Rosebud Indian Reservation and in New York City working with principals and teachers implementing the University of Oregon Follow Through Project Model.
For the next twelve years, Jerry served as a classroom teacher, working in a high-poverty elementary school. During his tenure, he field tested a wide variety of Direct Instruction programs designed for intermediate grade student who were several years below grade level. Jerry also supervised over 20 student teachers during this time.
Jerry began authoring textbooks and instructional programs while he was teaching. In 1979, he co-authored the textbook Direct Instruction Reading with Dr. Douglas Carnine. The text is currently in its fifth edition. Jerry also co-authored another text with Carnine, Direct Instruction Math, as well as instructional programs on language arts with Siegfried Engelmann: Reasoning and Writing (Levels C and D), Expressive Writing I and II, Reading Mastery Signature Edition Language (Grades 2 and 3), Connecting Math Concepts Comprehensive Edition (Level D) and Direct Instruction Spoken English (DISE).
During the 1990s, Silbert spent a significant amount of time serving as a consultant to elementary schools implementing Direct Instruction. He worked with 16 high-poverty schools in Chicago, and multi-school implementations of Direct Instruction in Ft. Worth, Houston, Dayton, Columbus and Los Angeles, helping schools plan and implement the DI programs. He also served as an advisor to a number of community advocacy groups who wanted to see Direct Instruction used to improve the performance of students in their communities.
Over the last decade, Jerry worked as a national consultant with the Reading First project and has since been an integral contributor to the development and revision of Direct Instruction programs.